With Taika Waititi officially coming back as Thor 4’s director (and Akira facing an indefinite delay), let’s take a moment to celebrate the absurdly silly obra maestro that is Thor: Ragnarok.
Loki Getting Man-Handled
The best laughs were reserved for the ever-brooding God of Mischief. Aside from Doctor Strange asserting himself as the alpha sorcerer with his Portal skit, the “Get Help” scene was pure comedic genius.
Loki getting rag-dolled is a classic MCU gag.
It Saved Thor
Prior to the release of Thor: Ragnarok, the Thor franchise had gotten stagnant. Thor’s script was to just be the funny off-world character who didn’t understand 21st century Earth. The follow up to Thor’s introductory movie, Dark World, dipped into the lukewarm waters of Shakespearean opera, only to emerge with a dull movie with a forgettable villain (Sorry, Ninth Doctor). Even his appearances on the Avenger films proved to be lackluster, with directors probably not knowing what to do with the Asgardian prince.
Enter indie darling Taika. He broke Thor, the MCU, and everything we thought about superheroes and comedy.
Weird But Killer Soundtrack
The work of art that is the trailer made great use of Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song”, which also made for a great opening scene. The score, composed by Devo lead Mark Mothersbaugh, is just as strange and quirky, and you need only look at the song titles to prove it (“Devil’s Anus”). It’s been described as “retro-futuristic techno, with a decidedly old school yet modern sci-fi feel.”
Fixed the Thor Ragnarok poster pic.twitter.com/BJXNhVOTYe
— Brian Firenzi (@mrbrianfirenzi) July 23, 2017
Hollywood’s least utilized yet most brilliant actors plays the role of Grandmaster, who is the party-loving tentacle-fetishizing overlord of Sakaar. Jeff Goldblum was given free-reign to essentially play an insanely camped-up version of himself. Every moment that he shows up on-screen is a gift from God himself, and he blessed us even more with Jeff Goldblum singing a made-up song as fireworks shoot out of a stressed Bruce Banner’s ship.
Jeff Goldblum. That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Jack Kirby-esque Visuals
Of the recent MCU films, Antman and Doctor Strange have stepped up Marvel Studio’s standards for the visually trippy. While those two films paid homage to Jack Kirby, Thor: Ragnarok took it up a notch by turning the mise en scène into Taika’s grand neon space odditiy playground that resonated beyond VFX, spilling over into its set and costumes.
They also gave us one of the most stunning set of character posters in the history of Hollywood.
It’s been around two years since it came out, but I’m still thinking of this particular scene to this day. From Thor’s glorious ascent into God of Thunder (not to be confused with Thor, God of Hammers) to the stunning composition that felt like the coolest Norse RPG hack-and-slash you can ever play in the universe.
Taika’s Signature Improv Humor
Taika has an impressive track record for handling off-beat stories of people who don’t quite fit in. From his Oscar-nominated student short Two Cars, One Night, to his comedy love child Flight of the Conchords with Jemaine Clement, and the outrageously hilarious cult film What We Do In The Shadows.
He took everything that was great about his films and pushed it into overdrive, giving us the cosmic workplace comedy we didn’t know we needed. This is thanks to Taika’s affinity for the weird, talent for improv, and of course, his brilliant execution of a script that was four-fifths improvised.
We’re Having Fun With The Characters
Probably the best part about Taika’s direction would be his Hulk smashing of MCU conventions. He is masterfully impish with how he lets his characters interact with each other, even lending his own acting chops as the charming Korg.
Here’s three kids who just lost their father, all dealing with their own brands of daddy issues, against the backdrop of an Asgardian dictatorship and a gladiator games-obsessed planet. We also solved the case of Where’s Bruce Banner, and quickly transitioned to watching Hulk and Bruce smack talk about each other as they grapple for dominance over the same body.
To top it all off, Tessa Thompson graces us with her natural badassery as Valkyrie, the last of the all-female Asgardian warriors. She’s a disillusioned fallen hero who has a habit of drinking, being secretive, and kicking ass – reminiscent of Jessica Jones and her stint both as Jewel and Alias Investigations, but with less trauma.
BONUS: Loki’s School Play
A hilarious piece of five-minute meta-fiction is also part of the movie’s enduring allure. While Loki is disguised as Odin, he puts on a play in the plaza of Asgard that details his supposed death in Dark World. The situation itself was funny enough, but Loki’s chosen cast knocked it out of the park. He signed on Matt Damon to play Loki, Sam Neill as Odin, and who else as Thor but Chris Hemsworth’s real-life brother Luke.
Everybody say, “Thank you, Taika.”
What are you excited to see from Taika Waititi on Thor 4? Share it in the comments below!